Artist Micheál Ó Nualláin, brother of Flann O’Brien, dies at 88

Illustrator and designer was also art teacher and Department of Education inspector

Micheál Ó Nualláin pictured in 2013 at his home in Monkstown, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Micheál Ó Nualláin pictured in 2013 at his home in Monkstown, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The death has occurred at the age of 88 of renowned Irish painter Micheál Ó Nualláin, the brother of the late writer Brian O’Nolan, more commonly known as Flann O’Brien or Myles na gCopaleen.

From a family of 12 children, Ó Nualláin won a scholarship to the National College of Art aged nine. He worked as a freelance artist and designer, then an art teacher and in 1965 was appointed art inspector in the Department of Education. He retired in 1993.

Ó Nualláin’s work can be seen in the National Gallery of Ireland and in galleries throughout the world. He has also published illustrations under the pseudonym Kilroy.

Ó Nualláin’s portrait of his brother was used on the commemorative stamp released by An Post in 2011 on the centenary of Flann O’Brien’s birth.

Ó Nualláin, who was an entrant in the design competition for the Spire monument, took a High Court action against Dublin City Council for not producing an Environmental Impact Statement.

He was successful in that challenge, though not in preventing the Spire.

His own design was for a “skypod” mounted on a hexagonal column rising from a three-storey glazed box at street level. This, he argued, would give Dublin a “sculpted flying saucer”, as powerful a symbol for the city as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which was equally controversial in its day.